In the world of real estate, past clients are your secret weapon. Not only have they worked with you and benefited from your services, but they know you.
These days, word-of-mouth makes up a sizable chunk of marketing efforts. Here are some stats from recent years:
- Word-of-mouth impressions drive sales five times greater than the equivalent number of paid impressions (this discrepancy greatens for high-consideration purchases). Source: WOMMA
- Word-of-mouth marketing has been shown to increase marketing effectiveness by as much as 54 percent. Source: MarketShare
- Conversion rates for word-of-mouth recommendations are three to five times higher than those of non-referred prospects. Source: WOMMA
So, what can you do to generate referrals from your past clients? Here are five ideas from experts in the field:
1. Optimize your website for referrals
If a past client wants to refer you, make it as easy as possible for them to do so by optimizing your website for referrals. This could be as easy as adding a “refer a friend” link or contact form to your homepage or menu.
2. Beef up social channels
Why stop at optimizing your website? While it may take a little more time, making sure that all of your social channels are in top-top shape can be a huge win for your business. Keep your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Instagram active, visually pleasing, and updated. Make sure you’re checking these channels regularly too, in case a client or referral sends you an inquiry.
3. Make a referral rewards program
Not everyone has the resources for a rewards program, but if you do, we highly recommend incentivizing your past clients to refer you. You can go as simple as a gift card, or as big as home staging services, discounted storage, or professional organization.
4. Keep in touch with old clients
This one is the most important tip to remember, and any good real estate agent already knows that it’s a must. Keeping in touch with old clients is not just a show of good faith, but it also helps you stay top-of-mind. Show your old clients that you care, and they will return the favor.
One great way to stay in touch with past clients is to use a collaborative home search platform like RealSavvy. RealSavvy allows you to create a Home Board for a past client’s neighborhood, which works similar to a Pinterest board but with real MLS data. That way, your clients can stay up-to-date on all the homes that are for sale and have sold in their neighborhood, and can easily communicate with you as new properties come up on the market.
“Staying connected to your past clients throughout the 5-to-7-year sales cycle is an important way to keep their continued business when they’re ready to move again. Send monthly newsletters with helpful information about what’s going on in the real estate market or get more granular with real-time information about a client’s neighborhood using RealSavvy Home Boards,” says Alani Rondon, VP Marketing at RealSavvy.
5. Don’t hesitate to ask for client testimonials, too
Even if your past client can’t think of anyone looking for a house, you may still be able to squeeze a review or testimonial from them. Ask them for a few sentences about your services and their experience with you. Most clients will be more than willing to give you their review. Once you have their testimonial, consider putting it on your website or in your portfolio. You can also encourage clients to post reviews on Yelp or Google Reviews, depending on which service you lean on.